On the eve of trial, a Judge in rural Lakeport, Calif., has ordered that the prosecution of a young black man for murder be moved to another county because it is unlikely the suspect can receive a fair trial. On Thursday, a judge granted a defense motion for a change of venue. The defense had argued that he would not be able to get a fair trial because of extensive local media coverage and the unlikelihood that Hughes could get a jury of his peers in the county. A new location for the trial will be selected Dec. 14. “We have to go to a more urban environment,” said defense attorney Stuart Hanlon, overjoyed that his latest attempt to get the trial moved had finally succeeded, shortly after a jury had been selected.
The suspect, Renato Hughes Jr., 22, is one of three men who attempted to rob a Lakeport homeowner last year. During the robbery, the dealer shot two of the intruders to death. Under an obscure California law that could make him responsible for the two deaths.